ENMU outlasts WT to move to 3-3 in LSC


September 19, 2018

Eric Murray

Jennifer Martinez, left, Jasmine Gannon, middle, and Rebekah Spencer, right, celebrate Eastern's win over WT on Tuesday night.

PORTALES — Eastern New Mexico’s senior volleyball class made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first group of Greyhound seniors to beat West Texas A&M three times.

An intense back and forth battle went the full five sets, with ENMU winning, 25-19, 17-25, 25-13, 13-25 and 15-9.

“We told ourselves that we have to start strong. We do good when we start strong, and when we let a few points slide in the beginning, some of that dull energy carries,” Greyhound senior Jennifer Martinez said of the fifth set strategy. “We all got together and said, ‘We’re not gonna lose at home to WT. We’re gonna make history for the seniors.”

And that, Eastern (5-8, 3-3 Lone Star Conference) did. With the match tied at 2-2, the Hounds stuck to their word and started strong. Consecutive blocks from Julie Tucker put Eastern ahead, 7-3. West Texas A&M (7-6, 2-3) rallied from 11-6 down to cut the deficit to 12-9. However, a Martinez block, a Jasmine Gannon kill and finally, a Martinez kill, clinched it for ENMU.

“It’s West Texas. Regardless of records, if you’re not up for West Texas, you don’t deserve to play here. It’s as simple as that,” Eastern coach Sia Poyer said. “That’s what we tell them every year. It’s a great win — wish it didn’t go five — but we’ll take it. We got some new faces in there to get reps, and hopefully that helps us down the road.”

New faces like freshman Taylor Roberts added three kills and a pair of digs to give the Hounds a boost. Eastern came out strong in its first set, building a 21-17 lead late, before taking the game. However, the Lady Buffs would give the Greyhounds fits in the second set, building an enormous 16-4 lead at one point.

ENMU rebounded in the third set, but constant bad court conditions for both sides forced a number of stoppages in play. In fact, the east end of the court (facing the scorer’s table) lost each of the first four games, until Eastern took it at the end, when both sides rotate, halfway through.

“There was a point where the other girls on WT were complaining, and I was like, ‘I’m sorry, we fall at practice all the time,” Martinez said, laughing. “I don’t know what it is about the court, but we just fall, and when we slip, we’ve trained ourselves to get right back up. We were saying that maybe that could be our one advantage.”

With the win, the Hounds end a three-game skid, and finish off their homestand with games against Western New Mexico (Friday) and UT-Permian Basin (Saturday).

“It’s a huge confidence booster,” Martinez explained of Tuesday’s win. “We’re a pretty young team, and we’re also a pretty new team, with some inexperienced seniors and juniors that have transferred in — or haven’t really played much before. This is a huge win and it shows we have such big potential.”


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